Average Cost of Dog Leg Amputation

Pricing for a leg amputation is difficult to estimate as there are many variables: partial amputation, full amputation, and amputation with shoulder removal.

Dog leg amputation cost

In the US, the cost of a dog leg amputation is between $500 and $3000. In the UK, there is a huge difference depending on geographic location. Complex surgeries tend to be more expensive in the south, with prices starting at around £700.

Your vet clinic fees also have an impact, as do any additional treatments such as pre-op blood tests, painkillers, anti-inflammatory medication, and each night stay in the clinic.

How much is a prosthetic leg for a dog?

It is important to understand that not all dogs are suitable candidates for a prosthesis. There must be some of the limb left for the prosthetic leg to be attached to or it will not function effectively.

Prices tend to start around $200-$300 for basic prosthesis design and fit. More complex designs, material manufacture or size of the prosthesis will increase the overall cost.

For a medium or large breed dog requiring a full leg prosthesis, you should expect to pay $600-$1000 depending on the company you choose and the complexity of the prosthesis itself.

How can I help my dog with leg amputation?

Having a limb amputation can be a scary and disorientating experience. You cannot explain to a dog that their leg has been amputated, but there are things you can do to make them feel more comfortable.

  • Most importantly, you must not allow them to lick or bite at the wound after surgery, as this can lead to infection. An Elizabethan collar or inflatable neck collar will prevent them from being able to reach the wound.
  • Your veterinarian will show you how to change your dog’s bandages. This is an important part of the aftercare and helps promote healing.
  • You should expect a little swelling and for your dog to be a little uncomfortable for the first few days. This will settle soon, provided you follow the prescription instructions for their painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Stick to short 5-10 minutes walks close to home for the first week. Your dog will be tired and needs to adjust to walking with 3 legs. Your dog will take a little time to learn how to use his weight to balance and they may experience fantom limb episodes for a while.
  • You can purchase a harness for your dog to help him adjust to the new sensations and change of balance after his surgery. A chest harness is best for front leg amputation, while a body harness works best for hindleg amputation.
  • You should use the harness during walks and for toilet trips for the first week or so until your dog can move about comfortably on their own.

Every dog is different and the time they take to adjust will vary between individual dogs. Some may take a few days to settle from the surgery, while others may struggle to learn weight-bearing on their remaining legs.

Speak to your veterinarian if you think your dog needs additional support.

Is it cruel to amputate a dog’s leg?

Amputation can occur as a last resort, such as if your dog was hit by a car and suffered severe crush injuries or nerve damage that left him unable to use his legs, or it can be performed as part of a major operation to remove cancerous tumors or treat osteoarthritis.

It’s important you are fully aware of all the risks involved with a leg amputation, both in terms of what can go wrong during the surgery, and in how much rehabilitation your dog needs afterward. Amputations are among the most serious procedures that your vet may recommend for your dog, so make sure you have read everything about it first.

Dogs do cope remarkably well after amputation but it is major surgery and you should discuss the pros and cons with your vet before proceeding. Once you have read about the procedure and are sure that this is the best option for your pet.

Do dogs get depressed after amputation?

It’s normal to feel uneasy, and even guilty after your pet has surgery. This is a common reaction for owners of dogs and cats, particularly when they have to undergo amputation because of an injury or illness.

Your dog or cat may look different than before and move differently now that he has lost a limb. After surgery, you’ll see that your dog or cat may be a bit wobbly, has a large incision, and walks with a new, odd gait that might make you sad or even regret your choice to amputate. But rest assured, those feelings are common and will disappear over time as you watch your pet adjust to life without his or her limb.

Do three-legged dogs have shorter lives?

Three-legged dogs can live long, happy and healthy lives. Dogs can actually adjust very quickly to their new lifestyle with only three legs, though you will want to protect them from any potential harm they may encounter.

If the dog appears to be struggling with mobility issues, talk to your vet about possible solutions such as a special harness for support or a wheelchair. But remember that these things can be expensive and may not be necessary for all dogs.

A few modifications in your home may be necessary, but again, taking the time and being willing to make these changes will help ensure that your dog has a long and healthy life.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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